Guide to Sales Readiness
Your salespeople are a critical part of your business team. In many cases, they're the ones who connect directly with your customers, whether they're making that initial contact that can help them guide customers to your products or they're getting ready to close a deal on a customer who is nearly ready to make a purchase. Sales readiness means your reps aren’t just versed in product knowledge, but they are well-trained in the conversation skills that are proven to lead to better outcomes and customer experiences.
96% of customers will leave a brand that offers bad customer service--and in many cases, it starts with your salespeople. If your salespeople aren't effective communicators, they may be turning customers away from your brand before they even have a chance to try your products. Are your salespeople truly sales-ready? Using the right tools can help your team connect with your customers and meet your sales goals.
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Why Sales Readiness is Important
Sales readiness is a critical element for your business. Without sales readiness, your team members are not adequately prepared to close on sales and achieve their goals. Sales ready salespeople can offer a number of advantages to the sales process, whether they're talking to customers at the top of the funnel or those who are ready to finalize a purchase.
1. Salespeople who aren't sales-ready can't provide value to your customers.
Executive buyers note that eight out of ten sales meetings are a waste of time. As a result, they may leave those meetings with a negative overall opinion of your brand--and that means that even if they have a need for your product or in your industry, they're unlikely to buy from you. Sales readiness, on the other hand, means they can add genuine value to the client during the meeting, which can help encourage customers to consider your brand in a positive light in the future even if they don't yet have a need for your services.
2. Sales-ready salespeople can answer your buyers' questions.
Buyers may have a range of questions before they're ready to make a purchase, especially a high-dollar one. They want to know that the product they're considering will genuinely answer the problem they're having and meet their needs--and that your product, specifically, is the one for the job.
If your sales team can't answer those essential questions, buyers may have little to no trust in them. On the other hand, a salesperson who is prepared to answer your buyers' questions will generate deeper conversation and add value to the conversation, which will increase the odds that the customer will make a purchase from you.
3. Those who aren’t sales-ready may struggle with overall productivity.
What are the members of your sales team doing with their time? If they aren't sales-ready, chances are, they aren't hitting their goals. They may not be using their time at work productively.
Often, they have little knowledge about their products or may not know how to effectively communicate with any audience. Frequently, they aren't confident about interacting directly with customers, which may mean that they put off calls. They may spend more time researching the answers to questions that they should already know and understand than they do actually working with customers and building trusting relationships with them.
Sales readiness, on the other hand, means reaps are often much more engaged and confident in their interactions. They're prepared to connect with your customers, and they're quick to answer when they're contacted.
4. Sales readiness helps salespeople get creative to answer customer needs.
When your salespeople are truly sales-ready, they aren't just prepared to answer basic questions about your services. They're also well-informed about exactly what your products are and how they can best answer consumer needs.
As a result, they're ideally positioned to share that information in a way that resonates with the customer--and to come up with solutions that will fit the specific needs of your customers. If your salespeople know your add-on and upsell items, they can often fill in the blanks that a base product cannot offer for customers, which can ultimately lead to a more satisfied customer.
5. Sales ready salespeople can help increase overall confidence in your brand.
Sales readiness requires the salesperson to know the brand inside and out and how the company can add value to customers. Perhaps more importantly, they are confident in how to communicate that value in a way that builds trust and credibility. As a result, they're prepared to approach customers and deal with their queries. That confidence will often rub off on the customer, who will feel a greater sense of connection and a greater measure of assurance in your brand.
6. Sales ready salespeople are prepared no matter how customers choose to connect with your brand.
Today's salespeople need to be ready to close in person, over the phone, or online: however customers prefer to connect with your brand. If they don't know how to use the tools your business has on hand to connect with customers and provide them with essential information, they may end up struggling to actually close those sales.
On the other hand, if your salespeople know how to use all the channels your business has available, they'll be able to more effectively take customers from one platform to another and, in many cases, more easily close the sale.
How to Choose a Platform That Can Enable Sales Readiness
An estimated 90% of sales training programs fail within the first 120 days after implementation. If you're aiming to improve sales readiness across your organization, it's important to have the right tools, applications, and platforms to provide customers with the information they need and coach the verbal and non-verbal skills reps need to make them effective communicators. By using the right platform, you can set up your brand for a higher degree of sales-readiness.
1. Use a brand that provides customized guidance and support.
You don't just want a platform that provides generalized sales guidance. Your brand is unique, and so are the needs of your customers. You need a platform that is able to provide an equally customized approach to sales: one that takes your unique value propositions and the specific needs of your target audience into consideration. Furthermore, you want a platform that can look into the actual interactions your salespeople have with your prospects and provide them with tailored advice geared toward offering maximum support.
2. Look for a platform that will provide measurable outcomes.
Throwing out sales tips and hoping they'll be used isn’t very effective. Many sales programs and platforms simply provide generalized guidance: guidance that never stops to actually take the needs of your customers and your business into account, let alone the unique communication skills of your reps. They may also fail to offer measurable key performance indicators and outcomes.
An effective platform, on the other hand, will offer measurable insights into revenue, customer experience, and audience perceptions of your rep’s sales call performance and provide information about how to make your sales reps more effective communicators. It offers data-backed insights into current communication skills and gaps per rep and sales team, allowing salespeople to improve the skills in which they score lower.
Ideally, you want a platform that objectively assesses both verbal and non-verbal behaviors, then provides personalized insights into how salespeople can become overall more effective communicators.
3. Consider how platforms measure effectiveness and provide their advice.
It’s best to work with a platform that uses scientific principles, like behavioral science and AI-based prescriptive guidance on proven techniques to help improve sales skills. For example, your reps need insights into the various elements of human connection: vocal delivery, message content, visual delivery, and audience perception of their messages. Effectiveness must be objective and recommendations for improvement have to be customized to each rep’s specific skills gaps.
4. Select a platform that will leverage information from your top performers.
Your top performers are obviously doing something right. Unfortunately, many platforms will ignore the efforts of those top performers in favor of general recommendations that don’t leverage that data to help lower-performing reps.
Instead, look for a platform that will offer advice based on the performance of your existing high-performers. What techniques are they using? How are they communicating in a way that elicits a positive response?
Often, these will be elements that your top performers cannot necessarily share on their own and are difficult for traditional systems to measure, but an AI platform can - at scale. It objectively assesses their performance and quantifies it with a score, making it easy to see how reps are doing. Your top performers' scores will become the benchmark for success thanks to effective strategies and solutions that will help underperforming salespeople develop those skills.
5. Utilize a platform that provides practice opportunities for your salespeople.
Becoming a good salesperson doesn't happen overnight. Often, it's an ongoing process that must take a variety of elements and challenges into consideration. If you're struggling to see success in your salespeople, consider using a platform that will allow them some practice opportunities on video that the platform ingests and uses to evaluate real performances, including:
- Real-time or uploaded sales call video conversations
- Various scenario prompts at various stages of the buyer’s journey
- Scoring on those conversations so that salespeople can continue to improve their overall efforts and their sense of connection with those customers
An effective platform will allow your sales team to grow and continue to evaluate their communication skills.
6. Choose a platform that integrates with your current business systems.
You don't need a learning platform that stands in isolation. Instead, you need one that will seamlessly integrate with your current systems like your CRM so you can tie salesperson performances to actual sales. It is also important that the AI-powered coaching platform can be used in standard workflows for the highest adoption rates and convenience.
7. Make sure you use a platform and solution that is unbiased.
Sometimes, when you choose a platform to help guide your salespeople, it may come with feedback from sales coaches and managers. Unfortunately, sometimes, those reviews can be biased. Sometimes, those are intrinsic biases on the part of the reviewer. In other cases, personality disputes or even perceptions of past performance can influence the way your team interacts with one another, which can lead to inaccurate views of what salespeople are actually able to accomplish.
Instead, use a solution that utilizes artificial intelligence and behavioral science to provide an unbiased, trustworthy approach. An AI-powered coaching platform provides a standard way to score each rep so scores are an objective measurement of actual communication behaviors, one they can’t dispute or feel is unfair.
8. Check to ensure that you can update your training platform as your business's needs change.
As your business grows, its needs and the needs of your sales team will naturally change over time. Select a comprehensive training program you can customize depending on the current needs of your business.
Are you offering a new product? You need to make sure that your sales team is sales-ready on that product just like they are the solutions they're already selling.
Is your target audience changing? Have you pivoted to a new market or shifted to encompass a new niche? Sales readiness means your salespeople have the tools they need to pivot their strategies and plans according to the current needs of your business--and you need a platform that can provide them with those essential tools.
Your Sales Readiness Checklist
Is your team sales-ready? Check over these critical elements to ensure that your sales team is ready to handle any challenges that might come your way.
1. Do you have a clear sales strategy for your business?
Do you have a clear sales strategy in place that can help guide salespeople through the process? Do you have options that will allow them to pivot based on the unique needs of your target audience, especially if they encounter unique challenges during the course of their sales?
2. Do the members of your sales team have the right tools at their fingertips?
The tools your sales team actually needs may depend on what you're trying to accomplish. However, they need tools like:
- An AI-powered sales coaching platform
- Lead handling
- Automation tools
- Analytics and reporting
In addition, your sales team needs comprehensive training tools that can ensure that they are able to learn and adapt their strategies based on the current needs of your target audience.
Training is often ongoing. Not only does your sales team need to be trained in the latest sales techniques, but they may also need to learn more about new products or services as they come out. As a result, make sure that your sales team has access to training tools on a regular basis. An AI sales coaching platform is a great way to enable your reps to continually assess, score, practice and remeasure their skills so they continue to improve along every measured behavior.
3. Are the members of your sales team prepared to present your product in a clear, effective way?
If the members of your sales team don't know your products and have a strong communication strategy that allows them to position those products to your target audience, they cannot sell them effectively.
Your sales team should know those products and the options they can offer inside and out. They can meet unique customer needs and build relationships with clients through effective communication to close more sales.
4. Can your sales team work with leads and prospects from different segments of your target audience?
Many salespeople get used to interacting with a certain type of lead or prospect, and they may have a hard time when the time comes to pivot to a new audience. For example, suppose you sell business solutions. Previously, your sales team has worked with CIOs and CEOs; however, you discovered that you're able to offer solutions to lower-level management. Those team members, in turn, will be more likely to take a solution that works for their C-team. If your sales team isn't prepared to deal with those members of the team, including answering their unique pain points, they may struggle to close the sale.
5. Do the members of your sales team know how your product addresses customer pain points?
They know the target audience. They know the products. However, simply knowing your products might not be enough for sales team members to effectively close those sales and actually connect with those leads. They need to effectively communicate how your product actually solves those pain points.
6. Do your sales team members know which opportunities and leads are most important for your business?
Your business likely has specific areas that it chooses to focus on: the leads and opportunities that are most important to the brand as a whole. Those may not always be your highest-value clients, especially if you're trying to pivot your sales strategy or reach a different target audience.
The members of your sales team must be clear as to company priorities and what opportunities are most important to your business. By focusing on the right things, your reps will close deals that bring the most value to the company.
7. Do you have a comprehensive training program in place for new and existing employees?
Sales organizations often see regular turnover. According to Hubspot, companies that prioritize coaching see significantly higher win rates and quota attainment stats. If you lack a comprehensive onboarding and ongoing training program, sales readiness suffers. All reps, new and old, need the tools to succeed, including product training and communication coaching to continually upskill them. They need consistent feedback on their performance - not just closed deals but how their communication skills are developing.
8. Do you have clear analytics in place for tracking the performance of your sales team members?
This brings us to what you use to measure those skills. What key performance indicators will be used? Actual sales are easy to measure, but how do you measure soft skills related to their communication behaviors? How can you measure audience perception of their interactions with your reps?
The AI-powered coaching platform uses AI and behavioral and social sciences to provide data-backed insights and objective measurements of every aspect of communication. Combined with sales data, sales managers and coaches get a more comprehensive picture of what makes reps successful and where skills gaps exist with lower-performing reps.
Make Sure Your Team is Sales Ready
Maintaining sales readiness across your team is critical for the overall performance of your brand.
- A sales-ready team is prepared to present your products and services effectively so that customers can determine what they need from your brand.
- If your team isn't sales-ready, you may be missing out on vital sales and productivity, which could ultimately cut your profits.
- Choosing the right training tool can help your salespeople learn more effective communication skills, including how to build relationships with your target audience.
- You need to continue to monitor and track sales team performance to ensure that they continue to meet their goals.
Today, more than ever, your sales team needs to be prepared for anything. With an AI-powered coaching platform like Quantified, you can ensure that your sales team has the tools it needs in order to excel. Learn more about what your sales team is doing right, discover how you can coach them to higher levels of success, and provide them with the tools they need to help grow your business. Learn more at Quantified.
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